Friend: Katie (and Kyle) Tessin
Activity: Free samples and snacks
Location: Whole Foods
Total $ spent: $1
In case you have been paying close attention, my original $ date for today was Jara. She invited me to take her Turbo Kick class at the downtown YMCA. Yeah, at 7:45am. On a Saturday. Downtown. Anyone who knows me knows that mornings are my nemesis. It's all I can do to get out of bed when I've slept for 12 hours. That fact combined with the hour at which I typed Day 5's blog prevented me from waking up to my alarm on time. Embarrassed and a little ashamed, I texted Jara the news of my lameness, and asked if we could do our $ date later in the day. She wasn't available, so I needed to find a new date. Enter the very kind-hearted Katie Tessin and her doll-faced son, Kyle.
Katie and I first met a few years ago when she was a student teacher at the school where my sister, Becky, teaches. I was helping Becky with some arts and crafts projects - something which does not come naturally to me (the arts and crafts part, not the helping part) - and Katie was creating a bulletin board for all of her little kidos. I remembered thinking "she looks so sweet and cute!" A few months later, I saw Katie again when I taught a Mary Kay skin care class at Becky's house. Katie and a few other girlfriends had to leave the party early, but she was still very sweet and she ordered the Microderm-abrasion set (btw, you should all be exfoliating and/or microderming at 1-2 times weekly). But it wasn't until my Nerdy Thirty Birthday Party that I actually got to know her better.
I had just moved to Omaha and barely knew anyone besides my family. But since I was turning 30, Becky wanted me to have a big celebration. She let me "borrow" all of her friends, and Katie and her husband were two of the people who attended. Here they were at my 30th birthday party, not really knowing anything about me other than I was Becky's sister, and they brought me a gift. A gift! I love gifts! I also love flattery. As we started to see each other more and more at social gatherings, I noticed that Katie was always complimenting my outfit, or my hair, or my humor, or my sweet dance moves. She is so genuine that you just want to hug her constantly. And I don't hug. Sometime within the past 2 and half years, I stopped "borrowing" Katie and I claimed her as my friend.
For our $1 date, we decided to go to Whole Foods with her little boy and his bestie, my nephew Charlie (who I was already babysitting for the night so his parents could go on their annual date night. Yes, I meant annual). We were excited to take advantage of all the yummy free samples. With all the beautiful colors of the gourmet foods and vibrant flowers, I knew our date would also be a feast for our eyes.
We started in produce and sampled juicy Clementine oranges. The boys both loved and hated them as the tart fruit pierced their taste buds. It took Charlie three bites before he decided he did actually like them.
We passed by the apples, grapes, carrots, eggplant, zucchini, squash, oy I'm getting hungry, and moved along to our next sample. Crab dip and crackers. No, I didn't eat the crab dip, but guess what? Both boys did and they loved it. Who'da thunk?
Somewhere between the grapes and the avocados, Charlie and Kyle burst into a laughing fit over who could make the silliest fishy face. They could have giggled all night if we let them. It was so freakin adorable that even the crabby shoppers cracked a smile.
By the time we were passing the soup station, I really wanted to cheat on my $1 spending limit. What was I thinking? I have never gone to Whole Foods without devouring every square inch of the salad bar. I thought, "if I let myself cheat, no one would really know except Katie and two 2-year olds. I deserve a salad right?" Don't worry. I didn't cheat.
Our next sample was very overpowering cheese which I can't pronounce. And then we decided to get the boys some snacks. Charlie had $5 of his very own to spend, and he picked out a turkey/cheese snack pack.
Still hungry and still craving the salad bar, I pondered what I could possibly find within my budget. Clever and creative Katie came to my rescue. She was buying some veggie sushi rolls and said she'd give me $1 worth. So smart! No wonder she is a teacher.
We rolled our toddlers and snacks over to the cafe area and let the boys play, throw, giggle, and run. Oddly enough, this actually provided for some quality time for me and Katie. She opened up about a troubled family member and about how she is so looking forward to staying home with Kyle. We talked about my job search and once again she was complimenting me. She suggested I look into being paid to write - what?? Me? Who would want to read my material, other than the Autism community when I write about advocacy, and my friends who already think I'm funny?
When Charlie had a melt-down over....what was it about actually? Was it because I asked him to stop running? Was it because it was time to get back in the cart? Was it because I ran out of cookies? Anyway, Charlie had a melt-down and wanted nothing to with me other than to kick and hit me. This was not only the first time I was responsible for him during a public melt-down (which doesn't happen very often), but it was the first time he was actually mad at me. He said, "I'm mad at you because you made me sad!" And he ran to Katie. I thought I might actually die of a broken heart. Generous as always, Katie comforted me. "They go through phases when they have their favorites, don't worry. He loves his Aunt Dee Dee very much." How did she know I needed to hear that? How did she have the mindset to comfort me, when suddenly she had an angry toddler in one arm, and a giggly one in the other?
We finally made our way out of the store, me a bit more exhausted than Katie. In a way, I wish we could have had more time to talk, but I'm glad we had this bonding experience. It was orderly chaos and so normally normal. I got to observe her being a doting mother while I walked a few aisles in my sister's motherly shoes.